February 20, 2010 in Business

In brief: Avista asks for hike to cover rebates


Avista Corp. is asking state regulators to increase customer-paid tariffs that fund energy-efficiency rebates for natural gas.

The company said the request was prompted by a near-record number of customers participating in the rebate program last year.

Customers who used the rebates last year saved 2.3 million therms of natural gas – enough to serve more than 3,000 homes with natural gas for 12 months. Installation of high-efficiency natural gas furnaces was one of the most common rebate uses.

In Washington, the company asked for a 4.5 percent increase in the tariff, which would add $2.54 to a typical monthly residential gas bill.

In Idaho, the company requested a 2.61 percent increase in the tariff, which would increase a typical residential gas bill by $1.52 per month. Public utility commissions in both states are reviewing the request.

Becky Kramer

Consumer price report shows decline

Washington – Consumer prices excluding food and energy fell in January – the first time they have in any month since 1982.

Friday’s report sent a positive signal to investors. It suggested the Fed will be able to keep short-term interest rates at record lows to strengthen the economic recovery without triggering inflation.

Overall consumer prices edged up 0.2 percent in January, the Labor Department said. But excluding volatile food and energy, prices fell 0.1 percent.

Associated Press

Honda in sales lead over hard-hit Toyota

San Francisco – Honda has taken advantage of Toyota’s recall nightmare in recent weeks to emerge as the top-selling brand in the U.S. in terms of retail sales, according to a survey published on Friday.

As of Feb. 15, Honda’s market share jumped to 13 percent, excluding corporate and rental car sales, while Toyota’s fell to 12.1 percent from 17.5 percent about a month earlier. Toyota still maintained a tenuous grip on the second spot, but Ford Motor Co.’s Blue Oval brand isn’t far behind at 11.7 percent, TrueCar.com data showed.


Boeing workers get layoff notices

Chicago – Boeing Co. said on Friday that it sent layoff notices to more than 1,000 people, most of them technology workers in Washington state and California.

The notices mean the workers are at risk of being laid off April 23. Spokesman Tim Healy said it’s possible the final number of layoffs could shrink.

Healy said 500 of the workers are in the Puget Sound area, where Boeing’s commercial airplanes division is based.

Associated Press

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email